Evaluating the relationship between biomarkers of potential harm and biomarkers of tobacco exposure among current, past, and nonsmokers: data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007–2012

Potential long-term health effects from tobacco products can be estimated by measuring changes in biochemical indicators of disease mechanisms like inflammation. This study assesses the potential relationships between biomarkers of potential harm (BOPH) and biomarkers of cigarette smoke exposure (BOE) based on data from the NHANES (2007–2012, n = 17,293 respondents). Statistically significant relationships were observed between white blood cells (WBC) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and BOE; between WBC and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and smoking status; and between WBC and HDL and smoking intensity. This analysis suggests that WBC and HDL are useful BOPH in studies assessing the health risks of cigarette smoking.